Keep Her Safe, Please!

Contemporary choreography fused Indonesian and Chinese dance movement, inspired by the struggle of women and the strength they demonstrated during the 1998 anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia.

Choreographer: Wan-Chao Chang

Music Excerpts:
Mbuh, by Suhendi Afraynto, from Asmat Dream - New Music Indonesia, Vol. 1 (Sunda)
Diya, by Dody Satya Ekagustdiman, from Asmat Dream - New Music Indonesia, Vol. 1 (Sunda)
Gending Erhu, by Jarrad Powell, performed by Gamelan Pacifica with Warren Chang, from Trance Gong

Music Edit: Wan-Chao Chang
Costume: Wan-Chao Chang

The idea of creating this piece was triggered by phone calls received in May 1998 by Wan-Chao Chang's Indonesian-Chinese parents who had immigrated to Taiwan in the 1960s. At the time of the riots they were receiving numerous phone calls from their friends and relatives still living in Indonesia: "I am scared of what is happening here. Please, I am begging you, take my daughter away from Indonesia and keep her safe! If I survive I will serve you my whole life..."

During the racial riots against the ethnic Chinese in May 1998, many Indonesian Chinese were killed, many women were raped, and over a hundred of Chinese-owned shops were looted in Jakarta. Those news did not come to news and media openly.

Even though these incidents occurred over ten years ago, stories of inhumane violence continue to haunt the public through narratives of the victims and their families. Unfortunately, similar violence and discrimination is still taking place in many areas of the world.

During these difficult times, many women stood by their families, protected and fought for their children, found ways to send their daughters away to save them from getting raped, helped and comforted victims. Their courage and strength kept their families united during and after the tragedy.

This piece is inspired by stories of these women - their fear, struggle, passion, love, and strength. The movements and music draw from both Chinese and Indonesian dance and martial arts. It aims to recognize the human commonality and embrace diversity reflected in race and religion.

Thank Jeff Purmort for music search process

Wan-Chao Dance (Wan-Chao Chang, Kompiang Metri-Davies, Aliah Najmabadi, Miriam Peretz, Nadia Roan, Hannah Romanowsky, Kristen Sague)

Lighting: Patty-Ann Farrell

June 27, 2009
San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco